The southern slopes of 3122m-high Volcán Chillán are the stunning setting of this ski mecca. Unusually for Chile's ski resorts, many of its 40 runs track through forest, and there's a good mix of options for beginners and more experienced skiers.

Superlatives abound here: it's got the longest piste in South America (13km Las Tres Marías), the longest chairlift and some of the biggest and best off-piste offerings. Since 2008 a snow park and summertime bike park (CH$10,000, 9am–5pm November to March) have been added too. The season can start as early as mid-June and usually runs to late September – locals swear that great snow, empty slopes and discounted ski passes make the beginning of September one of the best times to come. In summer there's hiking, horseback riding, climbing, canyoning and bike rental; check the website for the full offerings. If money's no object, stay on-site at the Hotel Nevados de Chillán, where warm thermal waters fill an outdoor pool surrounded by snow.